How To Stop Biting Nails

NervousIts ironic that this post comes after the How To Stay Focused post, but I have a problem. Its been my Achilles heel, my stumbling block, my… you get the drift.

I cannot stop biting my nails – no matter how hard I try!!!

Granted the problem is much less severe now. Earlier I would run out of nail to bite and my fingers were a mess. Now however, I have a different sort of problem.

I have almost stopped biting my nails now. They grow successfully till the end of my fingers, but that’s when the trouble starts. Instead of using a nail-cutter, I tend to bite them off. Try as I might, I just can’t stick to using the clippers.

Here is what I have done so far – Made a note of all the places where I bite my nails, to track subconscious environmental behaviour patters, tried assigning different actions to substitute the nail biting action, e.g. if I am going to bite my nail, I will instead start cracking my knuckles and substitute that action with a different one – none of which have worked.

This is where you come in. What should I do to stop biting my nails? Do you have any success stories to relate? Help me fix this problem. Let me know how in the comments below!

Update: So after I posted this, a friend pointed me to a question on Quora asking the same. One of the answers there was a link to a very old blog post by someone that said the following:

Here’s how it works – find a decent rubber band and wrap it around your wrist (it doesn’t matter which wrist).  When you find yourself biting your nails, or even thinking of it, snap yourself with the rubber band.  Not enough to leave a permanent mark, but enough to sting.  At first, I’d remember to snap myself only after I’d started biting.  Or I’d snap myself, but chew anyway.  But within 48 hours I noticed that I was chewing less and less.  For one thing, I was thinking about nail biting more frequently, and I was reminding myself how much I hated it.  Amazingly, the involuntary habit had given way to my voluntary consciousness.  Within a week I was done biting, and have never had the problem again (I ditched the rubber band after two weeks).  For the first time in my life I had to learn how to clip my nails.

I am going to totally try this out over the weekend. Lets see how this goes. Did I tell you I love the Internet? More on that later 🙂

Edit (12 October 2011) – Its been a while since this post was written and I must give you an update on what has happened since. The rubber band idea didnt work for me for reasons explained in the comments below. However, I realised I was fighting myself in order to stop biting my nails!! A better approach was to decide to grow my nails instead and give my self a mental *high-five* every time I saw better looking nails. This has worked for me.


  1. You get these dirty tasting nail polishes for the very same purpose.
    Maybe you can find a transparent one for yourself 😛

    Some people also apply chilly resin.

  2. You can always apply zandu balm on ur nails or something as stupid as a ‘Sach’ toothpaste. You wont bite your nails just cuz youll be filled with utter disgust. lol

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention - How To Stop Biting Nails --

  4. Perhaps you need to look at the root of the problem. What psychological need does it stem from. tackle that, first.

    Nothing some research and a friendly shrink can’t help with.

  5. It isn’t a psychological problem. Its a habit. When I look at my fingers and feel my nails are long, my fingertips start tingling and I bite the nails off. I know this is a stupid description, but it is factual and as accurate as it can get 🙂

  6. I bite my nails too….I tried to stop until I asked myself: Why stop? I haven’t found the answer….I’m biting and looking! Great blog you have here, Asfaq!

  7. i know its nearly a year old . But I want to know , did it work out for you?
    No not because I bite nails, but because I want help someone else who wants to stop, with some tips.

    /A M.S (AnonyMouS)

  8. Hi there. Actually, the rubber band idea didn’t work for me. For one, I kept forgetting to wear it. If I did, I didn’t quite remember to snap myself with it.

    That said, I realized I was approaching the problem incorrectly. Rather than fighting myself to stop biting my nails, I began to applaud and egg myself on to grow them longer. A smile and a mental ‘pat on the back’ when I see my nails does the trick for me.

  9. lol 🙂
    You are honest buddy, The approach was wrong. 

    Not even God can change condition, until we change what is within ourselves. 😉

    That person continues to bite, when extremely nervous. Hopefully, when time for action comes the person would stand up with enough confidence, just the way Churchill said it  “Its confidence to stand up and fight and its confidence to sit down and listen”

    Thank you, keep covering.

    /A M.S (AnonyMouS)

Leave a Comment